Home

Kuwait vs. Saudi Arabia

Introduction

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
BackgroundKuwait has been ruled by the AL-SABAH dynasty since the 18th century. The threat of Ottoman invasion in 1899 prompted Amir Mubarak AL-SABAH to seek protection from Britain, ceding foreign and defense responsibility to Britain until 1961, when the country attained its independence. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family returned to power in 1991 and established one of the most independent legislatures in the Arab World. The country witnessed the historic election in 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as bidoon, staged small protests in early 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Youth activist groups' repeated rallies in 2011 for the dismissal of a prime minister seen as being corrupt, ultimately led to his resignation in late 2011. Demonstrations renewed in late 2012 in response to an Amiri decree amending the electoral law. The opposition, led by a coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribalists, some liberals, and myriad youth groups, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013, which ushered in a legislature more amenable to the government's agenda. However, the opposition, expressing strong opposition to the government’s fiscal reforms, participated in the November 2016 National Assembly and won almost half of the positions. Since coming to power in 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on seven occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly in June 2012 and again in June 2013) and shuffled the cabinet over a dozen times, usually citing political stagnation and gridlock between the legislature and the government.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong ongoing campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.
From 2005 to 2015, King ABDALLAH incrementally modernized the Kingdom. Driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism, he introduced a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers. Saudi Arabia saw protests during the 2011 Arab Spring but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province protested primarily against the detention of political prisoners, endemic discrimination, and Bahraini and Saudi Government actions in Bahrain. Riyadh took a cautious but firm approach by arresting some protesters but releasing most of them quickly and by using its state-sponsored clerics to counter political and Islamist activism.
The government held its first-ever elections in 2005 and 2011, when Saudis went to the polls to elect municipal councilors. In December 2015, women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time in municipal council elections, with 19 women winning seats. King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud ascended to the throne in 2015 and placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the line of succession as Crown Prince. He designated his son, MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, as the Deputy Crown Prince. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of 10 countries in a military campaign to restore the government of Yemen, which had been ousted by Huthi forces allied with former president ALI ABDULLAH al-Salih. The war in Yemen has led to civilian casualties and shortages of basic supplies, which has drawn considerable international criticism. In December 2015, Deputy Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced Saudi Arabia would lead a 34-nation Islamic Coalition to fight terrorism (it has since grown to 41 nations). In January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on charges of terrorism, including Shia Muslim cleric NIMR al-Nimr. Iranian protesters overran Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran to protest al-NIMR’s execution and the Saudi government responded by cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran.
The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 16% of the world's proven oil reserves as of 2015. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. In April 2016, the Saudi government announced a broad set of socio-economic reforms, known as Vision 2030. Low global oil prices throughout 2015 and 2016 significantly lowered Saudi Arabia’s governmental revenue. In response, the government cut subsidies on water, electricity, and gasoline; reduced government employee compensation packages; and announced limited new land taxes. In coordination with OPEC and some key non-OPEC countries, Saudi Arabia agreed cut oil output in early 2017 to regulate supply and help elevate global prices.

Geography

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Geographic coordinates29 30 N, 45 45 E
25 00 N, 45 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 17,818 sq km
land: 17,818 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than New Jersey
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 475 km
border countries (2): Iraq 254 km, Saudi Arabia 221 km
total: 4,272 km
border countries (7): Iraq 811 km, Jordan 731 km, Kuwait 221 km, Oman 658 km, Qatar 87 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,307 km
Coastline499 km
2,640 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climatedry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
Terrainflat to slightly undulating desert plain
mostly sandy desert
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 108 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 306 m
mean elevation: 665 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land useagricultural land: 8.5%
arable land 0.6%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 7.6%
forest: 0.4%
other: 91.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 80.7%
arable land 1.5%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 79.1%
forest: 0.5%
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land105 sq km (2012)
16,200 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardssudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy rain, which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year but are most common between March and August
frequent sand and dust storms
volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar
Environment - current issueslimited natural freshwater resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location at head of Persian Gulf
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
Population distributiondensest settlement is along the Persian Gulf, particularly in Kuwait City and on Bubiyan Island; significant population threads extend south and west along highways that radiate from the capital, particularly in the southern half of the country
historically a population that was mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic, the Saudi population has become more settled since petroleum was discovered in the 1930s; most of the economic activities - and with it the country's population - is concentrated in a wide area across the middle of the peninsula, from Ad Dammam in the east, through Riyadh in the interior, to Mecca-Medina in the west near the Red Sea

Demographics

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Population2,832,776 (July 2016 est.)
note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 4,183,658 for 2015, with immigrants accounting more than 69%
28,160,273 (July 2016 est.)
note: immigrants make up more than 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2015)
Age structure0-14 years: 25.18% (male 371,021/female 342,362)
15-24 years: 15.16% (male 236,012/female 193,303)
25-54 years: 52.28% (male 936,604/female 544,378)
55-64 years: 4.95% (male 79,551/female 60,602)
65 years and over: 2.43% (male 32,096/female 36,847) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 26.56% (male 3,835,472/female 3,644,041)
15-24 years: 18.85% (male 2,843,422/female 2,465,027)
25-54 years: 46.4% (male 7,401,654/female 5,663,769)
55-64 years: 4.86% (male 747,307/female 620,100)
65 years and over: 3.34% (male 478,244/female 461,237) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 29.2 years
male: 30.3 years
female: 27.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 27.2 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 26.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.53% (2016 est.)
1.46% (2016 est.)
Birth rate19.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
18.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate2.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.72 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.31 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.41 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.31 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.21 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 7.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 13.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 78 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 79.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 75.3 years
male: 73.2 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.44 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.11 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groupsKuwaiti 31.3%, other Arab 27.9%, Asian 37.8%, African 1.9%, other 1.1% (includes European, North American, South American, and Australian) (2013 est.)
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
NA
ReligionsMuslim (official) 76.7%, Christian 17.3%, other and unspecified 5.9%
note: represents the total population; about 69% of the population consists of immigrants (2013 est.)
Muslim (official; citizens are 85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh) (2012 est.)
note: despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
NA
LanguagesArabic (official), English widely spoken
Arabic (official)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96.5%
female: 95.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 97%
female: 91.1% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2013)
total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 15 years (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 98.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.63% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 83.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved: urban: 3% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationKUWAIT (capital) 2.779 million (2015)
RIYADH (capital) 6.195 million; Jeddah 4.076 million; Mecca 1.771 million; Medina 1.28 million; Ad Dammam 1.064 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
12 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures3% of GDP (2014)
4.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.95 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
2.57 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density2.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate38.3% (2014)
33.7% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 32.1
youth dependency ratio: 29.5
elderly dependency ratio: 2.6
potential support ratio: 38.4 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 45.9
youth dependency ratio: 41.7
elderly dependency ratio: 4.2
potential support ratio: 24 (2015 est.)

Government

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Country name"conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt
etymology: the name derives from the capital city, which is from Arabic ""al-Kuwayt"" a diminutive of ""kut"" meaning ""fortress encircled by water""
"
"conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name ""Arabia"" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as ""Ar Rabi""
"
Government typeconstitutional monarchy
absolute monarchy
Capitalname: Kuwait City
geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC,during Standard Time)
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk
Independence19 June 1961 (from the UK)
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holidayNational Day, 25 February (1950)
Saudi National Day (Unification of the Kingdom), 23 September (1932)
Constitutionhistory: approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
amendments: proposed by the amir or supported by at least one-third of the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds consent by the Assembly membership and promulgation by the amir; constitutional articles on the initiation, approval, and promulation of general legislation cannot be amended (2016)
history: 1 March 1992 - Basic Law of Government, issued by royal decree, serves as the constitutional framework and is based on the Qur'an and the life and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad
amendments: proposed by the king directly or proposed to the king by the Consultative Assembly or by the Council of Ministers; passage by the king through royal decree; Basic Law amended many times, last in 2005 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law
Islamic (sharia) legal system with some elements of Egyptian, French, and customary law; note - several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees
Suffrage21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military or police by law cannot vote; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years
21 years of age; male; male and female for municipal elections
Executive branchchief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (born 25 June 1937)
head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah; Deputy Prime Ministers al-KHALD al-Jarrah al-Sabah, MUHAMMAD AL-KHALID al-Hamad al-Sabah, Abdulmohsen MUDEJ
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by the amir
elections/appointments: amir chosen from within the ruling family, confirmed by the National Assembly; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the amir
chief of state: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every 4 years and includes many royal family members
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; note - an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a role in selecting future Saudi kings
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (65 seats; 50 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 15 ex-officio members - cabinet ministers - appointed by the prime minister; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 26 November 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: preliminary results - opposition groups including those linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists won 24 seats, 1 woman, other 25
description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: all Kuwaiti judges appointed by the Amir upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a consultative body comprised of Kuwaiti judges and Ministry of Justice officials
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; Court of First Instance; Summary Court
highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit, which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
judge selection and term of office: High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high-level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2-year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; Specialized Criminal Court, first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts; Labor Court; a hierarchy of administrative courts
Political parties and leadersnone; while the formation of political parties is not permitted, they are not forbidden by law
none
Political pressure groups and leadersother: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups
other: gas companies; religious groups
International organization participationABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, CD, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CP, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador SALIM al-Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 10 October 2001)
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 966-8468
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
chief of mission: Ambassador KHALID BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since April 2017)
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
FAX: [1] (202) 944-5983
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Lawrence R. SILVERMAN (since 19 September 2016)
embassy: Bayan 36302, Block 13, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City
mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 2259-1001
FAX: [965] 2538-6562
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Christopher HENZEL (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: P.O.Box 94309, Riyadh 4693
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
telephone: [966] (11) 488-3800
FAX: [966] (11) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; colors and design are based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I; green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords, black signifies the defeat of the enemy
"green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as ""There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God"") above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides
note: the only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay
"
National anthem"name: ""Al-Nasheed Al-Watani"" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Ahmad MUSHARI al-Adwani/Ibrahim Nasir al-SOULA
note: adopted 1978; the anthem is only used on formal occasions
"
"name: ""Aash Al Maleek"" (Long Live Our Beloved King)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB
note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)golden falcon; national colors: green, white, red, black
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kuwait
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: not specified
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia; a child born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi mother and unknown father
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Economy - overviewKuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - more than 6% of world reserves. Kuwaiti officials plan to increase production to 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020. Petroleum accounts for over half of GDP, 92% of export revenues, and 90% of government income.

In 2015, Kuwait, for the first time in 15 years, realized a budget deficit after decades of high oil prices; in 2016, the deficit grew to 16.5% of GDP. Kuwaiti authorities announced cuts to fuel subsidies in August 2016, provoking outrage among the public and National Assembly, and the Amir dissolved the government for the seventh time in ten years. Despite Kuwait’s dependence on oil, the government has cushioned itself against the impact of lower oil prices, by saving annually at least 10% of government revenue in the Fund for Future Generations.

Kuwait has failed to diversify its economy or bolster the private sector, because of a poor business climate, a large public sector that employs about 76% of citizens, and an acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch that has stymied most economic reforms. The Kuwaiti Government has made little progress on its long-term economic development plan first passed in 2010. While the government planned to spend up to $104 billion over four years to diversify the economy, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy, many of the projects did not materialize because of an uncertain political situation or delays in awarding contracts.
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Over 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs.

In 2016, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 13.6% of GDP, which was financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending. Plans to cut deficits include introducing a value-added tax and reducing subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment. The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the healthcare, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$301.1 billion (2016 est.)
$293.7 billion (2015 est.)
$290.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1.731 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.711 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.653 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.5% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
0.6% (2014 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 est.)
3.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$71,300 (2016 est.)
$71,500 (2015 est.)
$72,600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$54,100 (2016 est.)
$54,500 (2015 est.)
$53,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.4%
industry: 59.6%
services: 40% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 42.9%
services: 54.7% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.3% (2016 est.)
3.3% (2015 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2015 est.)
Labor force2.546 million
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 60% of the labor force (2016 est.)
12.02 million
note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate3% (2016 est.)
3% (2015 est.)
11.2% (2016 est.)
11.4% (2015 est.)
note: data are for Saudi males only (local bank estimates; some estimates are as high as 25%)
Budgetrevenues: $47.14 billion
expenditures: $65.32 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $149.7 billion
expenditures: $236.7 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials
crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Industrial production growth rate1.6% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsfish
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Exports$43.84 billion (2016 est.)
$55.32 billion (2015 est.)
$205.3 billion (2016 est.)
$202.3 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesoil and refined products, fertilizers
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
Exports - partnersSouth Korea 14.8%, China 12.3%, Japan 10.6%, India 9.8%, US 7.7%, Pakistan 6%, Singapore 4.4% (2015)
China 13.2%, Japan 10.9%, US 9.6%, India 9.3%, South Korea 8.5% (2015)
Imports$28.32 billion (2016 est.)
$27.34 billion (2015 est.)
$157.7 billion (2016 est.)
$155 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partnersChina 13.2%, US 9.6%, Saudi Arabia 7.7%, Japan 6.5%, Germany 5.1%, France 4.3%, India 4.3% (2015)
China 13.8%, US 12.5%, Germany 7%, South Korea 6%, India 4.4%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.3% (2015)
Debt - external$41.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.23 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$200.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$169.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesKuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar -
0.3024 (2016 est.)
0.3009 (2015 est.)
0.3009 (2014 est.)
0.2845 (2013 est.)
0.28 (2012 est.)
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
3.75 (2012 est.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March
calendar year
Public debt23.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
31% of GDP (2016 est.)
15% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$28.72 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$553.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$616.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$2.977 billion (2016 est.)
$5.974 billion (2015 est.)
-$24.91 billion (2016 est.)
-$56.72 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$110.5 billion (2016 est.)
$637.8 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$12.39 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$14.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$258.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$250.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$73.65 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$31.58 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$42.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$81.78 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$83.13 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$99.77 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate2.5% (31 December 2016)
1.25% (31 December 2010)
2.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate4.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
7.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.9% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$102.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$96.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$221.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$31.54 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.95 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$295.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$305.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$117.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$114.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$513.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$461.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues42.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-16.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
-13.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 14.6%
male: N/A
female: N/A (2011 est.)
total: 30.4%
male: 21.4%
female: 57.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 47.6%
government consumption: 27.2%
investment in fixed capital: 29.5%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 47.8%
imports of goods and services: -52.1% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 42.3%
government consumption: 29.6%
investment in fixed capital: 29.5%
investment in inventories: 5.9%
exports of goods and services: 30.7%
imports of goods and services: -38% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving27.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
31.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
50.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
25% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Electricity - production61 billion kWh (2014 est.)
293 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption54 billion kWh (2014 est.)
272 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production2.718 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
10.05 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports1.8 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
7.416 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves104 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
269 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves1.784 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
8.489 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production15.03 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption18.49 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - imports3.46 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity16 million kW (2016 est.)
66 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production920,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
1.884 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption500,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
3.141 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports400,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1.45 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports11,900 bbl/day (2016 est.)
497,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy107 million Mt (2013 est.)
594 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 56,655
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 98%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2012)
population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2013)

Telecommunications

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 480,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 17 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,746,906
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 8.305 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 298 (July 2015 est.)
total: 52.796 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 190 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the quality of service is excellent
domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and open-wire and fiber-optic cable; a 4G LTE mobile-cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well-supplied with pay telephones
international: country code - 965; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 6 (3 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean, and 2 Arabsat) (2017)
general assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables
domestic: mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly
international: country code - 966; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks providing connectivity to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2015)
Internet country code.kw
.sa
Internet userstotal: 2.289 million
percent of population: 82.1% (July 2015 est.)
total: 19.32 million
percent of population: 69.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate-owned TV broadcaster operates 4 networks and a satellite channel; several private TV broadcasters have emerged since 2003; satellite TV available with pan-Arab TV stations are especially popular; state-owned Radio Kuwait broadcasts on a number of channels in Arabic and English; first private radio station emerged in 2005; transmissions of at least 2 international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Roadwaystotal: 6,608 km (2010)
total: 221,372 km
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
Pipelinesgas 261 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2013)
condensate 209 km; gas 2,940 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 5,117 km; refined products 1,151 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi
major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr
container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,492,315), Jeddah (4,010,448)
Merchant marinetotal: 34
by type: bulk carrier 2, carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 19
registered in other countries: 45 (Bahamas 1, Bahrain 5, Comoros 1, Libya 1, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 12, Qatar 6, Saudi Arabia 4, UAE 10) (2010)
total: 72
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)
registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)
Airports7 (2013)
214 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
total: 82
over 3,047 m: 33
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 132
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72
914 to 1,523 m: 37
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Heliports4 (2013)
10 (2013)

Military

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Military branchesKuwaiti Land Forces (KLF), Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya; includes Kuwaiti Air Defense Force, KADF), Kuwaiti National Guard (KNG) (2013)
Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes Marine Forces and Special Forces), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya as-Sa'udiya), Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Rocket Forces, Ministry of the National Guard (SANG) (2015)
Military service age and obligation17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended (2012)
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP3.65% of GDP (2014)
3.27% of GDP (2013)
3.41% of GDP (2012)
3.5% of GDP (2011)
13.5% of GDP (2015)
10.7% of GDP (2014)
9% of GDP (2013)
7.7% of GDP (2012)
7.25% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

KuwaitSaudi Arabia
Disputes - internationalKuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf
Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir
Refugees and internally displaced persons"stateless persons: 93,000 (2016); note - Kuwait's 1959 Nationality Law defined citizens as persons who settled in the country before 1920 and who had maintained normal residence since then; one-third of the population, descendants of Bedouin tribes, missed the window of opportunity to register for nationality rights after Kuwait became independent in 1961 and were classified as bidun (meaning without); since the 1980s Kuwait's bidun have progressively lost their rights, including opportunities for employment and education, amid official claims that they are nationals of other countries who have destroyed their identification documents in hopes of gaining Kuwaiti citizenship; Kuwaiti authorities have delayed processing citizenship applications and labeled biduns as ""illegal residents,"" denying them access to civil documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates
"
refugees (country of origin): 30,000 (Yemen) (2017)
stateless persons: 70,000 (2016); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Kuwait is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser degree, forced prostitution; men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly Africa to work in Kuwait, most of them in the domestic service, construction, and sanitation sectors; although most of these migrants enter Kuwait voluntarily, upon arrival some are subjected to conditions of forced labor by their sponsors and labor agents, including debt bondage; Kuwait’s sponsorship law restricts workers’ movements and penalizes them for running away from abusive workplaces, making domestic workers particularly vulnerable to forced labor in private homes
tier rating: Tier 3 - Kuwait does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making sufficient efforts to do so; although investigations into visa fraud rings lead to the referral of hundreds of people for prosecution, including complicit officials, the government has not prosecuted or convicted any suspected traffickers; authorities made no effort to enforce the prohibition against withholding workers’ passports, as mandated under Kuwaiti law; punishment of forced labor cases was limited to shutting down labor recruitment firms, assessing fines, and ordering the return of withheld passports and the paying of back-wages; the government made progress in victims’ protection by opening a high-capacity shelter for runaway domestic workers but still lacks formal procedures to identify and refer victims to care services (2015)
current situation: Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution; men and women from South and East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa who voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or low-skilled laborers subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude, including nonpayment and withholding of passports; some migrant workers are forced to work indefinitely beyond the term of their contract because their employers will not grant them a required exit visa; female domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because of their isolation in private homes; women, primarily from Asian and African countries, are believed to be forced into prostitution in Saudi Arabia, while other foreign women were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers; children from South Asia, East Africa, and Yemen are subjected to forced labor as beggars and street vendors in Saudi Arabia, facilitated by criminal gangs
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; government officials and high-level religious leaders demonstrated greater political will to combat trafficking and publically acknowledged the problem – specifically forced labor; the government reported increased numbers of prosecutions and convictions of trafficking offenders; however, it did not proactively investigate and prosecute employers for potential labor trafficking crimes following their withholding of workers’ wages and passports, which are illegal; authorities did not systematically use formal criteria to proactively identify victims, resulting in some unidentified victims being arrested, detained, deported, and sometimes prosecuted; more victims were identified and referred to protective services in 2014 than the previous year, but victims of sex trafficking and male trafficking victims were not provided with shelter and remained vulnerable to punishment (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook